Safety evaluation of olive phenolic compounds as natural antioxidants.
Free and total polyphenolic compounds were extracted from the fruits and leaves of the Picual cultivar. The safety limits of these compounds were recognized by measuring the activities of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and total lipids of rat serum. The free and total phenolic compounds (400, 800, and 1600 ppm) and butylated hydroxy toluene (BHT) (200 ppm) were daily ingested for 7 weeks. The administration of olive total and free phenolic compounds at 400 and 800 ppm did not cause any significant changes on ALT and AST activities and serum total lipids. These compounds at 1600 ppm caused significant increase in ALT and AST activities and the content of total lipids. Both olive phenolic compounds were superior to that of BHT in increasing HDL-cholesterol level. Nutritional experiments demonstrated that BHT at 200 ppm caused an enlargement in the kidney and liver of the rat compared with the administration of total and free olive phenolic compounds at 1200 and 1600 ppm. Microscopical examination of kidney and liver tissues of rats administered free and total phenolic compounds at 1200 ppm had the same histological character as that of control rats, while the administration of BHT (200 ppm) and phenolic compounds (1600 ppm) induced severe damage to the tissues of the rat kidney and liver.